Stopping contraception

Once you stop using contraception you may become pregnant at any point if you are having sex. You may be ready for this, but it’s helpful to think about how best to stop contraception and your plans for pregnancy.

Jump to the contraception method you're currently using:

Are you ready for pregnancy? Check our top tips here.

Hormonal contraceptives

Your hormones control the reproductive process (your monthly cycle of releasing an egg from the ovary into the womb to be fertilised by sperm). Hormonal contraceptives give you synthetic (man-made) versions of these hormones to stop the body from releasing eggs.

The Pill (combined oral contraceptive)

  • Finish the packet you are on.
  • Many doctors advise that you should delay trying to get pregnant until you have had one normal period, not the withdrawal bleed (this is the bleed that looks like a period but that isn’t caused by ovulation [LINK]). This means that they can tell better how many weeks you are when you become pregnant.
  • Use other types of contraception such as condoms until after your first normal period.
  • Don’t worry if you do become pregnant sooner as it is very unlikely that this will have harmed your baby.

Progestogen-only pill (also known as the mini-pill)

  • You can stop taking this at any time.
  • You do not need to finish the packet you are on.
  • Many doctors advise that you should wait for one period before trying to get pregnant.
  • Don’t worry if you do become pregnant sooner as it is unlikely that this will have harmed your baby.

Contraceptive injections (such as Depo-provera)

  • Do not renew your injections.
  • Your periods and normal fertility will often take longer to return than it does with other contraception, but it is possible to become pregnant before your first period.
  • Many doctors advise that you should wait for one period before trying to conceive.
  • Don’t worry if you do become pregnant sooner as it is unlikely that this will have harmed your baby.

Progesterone implants (such as Implanon)

  • Make an appointment with your doctor to have the implant removed. This is a quick procedure done with a local anaesthetic. Fertility levels usually return quite quickly.
  • Many doctors advise that you should wait for one period before trying to conceive.
  • Don’t worry if you do become pregnant sooner as it is unlikely that this will have harmed your baby.

Intrauterine device

An Intrauterine contraceptive device, or IUD, is sometimes known as the coil, or Intrauterine system (IUS), which contains the hormone progestogen).

  • Make an appointment with your doctor or family planning clinic to have it removed.
  • You might be advised to wait until your next period before starting to conceive.
  • Fertility levels should not be affected with the copper-containing IUD.

Barrier methods

Condoms (male and female)

  • Stop using condoms when you are ready to try for a baby. They don’t affect your fertility levels.

Diaphragms and caps

  • Stop using diaphragms or caps when you are ready to try for a baby. They don’t affect your fertility levels.

Other methods

Natural family planning (also known as the rhythm method)

  • Natural family planning does not affect your chance of getting pregnant. 
  • Your fertility knowledge should help you get pregnant.
  • Aim now to have sex during the times when you were avoiding it (or using a condom) when you didn’t want to become pregnant.
  • Consider in future that this method alone may not prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Withdrawal

  • The withdrawal method does not affect your chance of getting pregnant.
  • Stop withdrawing so that the sperm can enter the vagina.
  • Consider in future that this method alone may not prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Spermicide

  • Having used spermicide in the past will not affect your fertility.
  • Stop using spermicide if you’re trying to get pregnant.
  • Consider in future that this method alone may not prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Are you ready to start trying for a baby? Try our free healthcheck

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ midwifery, fourteenth edition, Edinburgh Bailliere Tindall Elsevier, 2012
  2. RCOG (2011) Quick starting contraception, London Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 2011. Also available at: http://www.fsrh.org/pdfs/CEUGuidanceQuickStartingContraception.pdf
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Last reviewed on June 5th, 2018. Next review date June 5th, 2021.

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